Why an Experimental Diving Unit?
Two submarine sinkings in the 1920s revealed significant shortcomings in the Navy’s rescue and recovery abilities. The Navy formed the Experimental Diving Unit in 1927 to address these deficiencies. NEDU’s early work focused on the Navy’s immediate needs: improving submarine rescue and escape capabilities, developing breathing mixtures that extended diving depths, and establishing decompression tables and treatment practices. In the 1960s and 1970s, with the fundamentals in place, NEDU shifted its attention to creating saturation diving procedures and to evaluating gear for divers, EOD personnel, and Special Forces.
What Exactly Does NEDU Do?
NEDU’s team of scientists, engineers, and divers ensures diver safety and expands diving capabilities in two key ways:
Testing and Certifying Diving Equipment
Most of the Navy’s diving gear is developed by commercial contractors for time and cost efficiency. NEDU evaluates this equipment to be sure it meets the Navy’s rigorous safety and performance standards before being placed in service.
Developing Diving Procedures
Military diving is complicated, hazardous work. Divers must adhere to exact rules and procedures or risk illness or death. NEDU develops the precise procedures, like decompression tables or treatment steps, that divers follow to remain safe.